UNRRA selected records AG-018-022 : Greece Mission
Correspondence, press releases, individual stories, monthly and annual reports, field trip reports, statistics, and working materials on training courses. Records relate to the UNRRA assistance and relief to war refugees, displaced Jews, child welfare, food supplies for hospitals and orphanages. Includes files of displaced persons organized by regions.
- Document Creator
- United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA)
UNRRA. Greece Mission
The United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) was an international relief agency, largely dominated by the United States but representing 44 nations. Founded in 1943, it became part of the United Nations in 1945, and it largely shut down operations in 1947. Its purpose was to "plan, co-ordinate, administer or arrange for the administration of measures for the relief of victims of war in any area under the control of any of the United Nations through the provision of food, fuel, clothing, shelter and other basic necessities, medical and other essential services". Its staff of civil servants included 12,000 people, with headquarters in New York. Funding came from many nations, and totaled $3.7 billion, of which the United States contributed $2.7 billion; Britain $625 million and Canada $139 million. The Administration of UNRRA at the peak of operations in mid-1946 included five types of offices and missions with a staff totalling nearly 25,000: The Headquarters Office in Washington, The European Regional Office (London), the Twenty-nine servicing offices and missions (2 area offices in Cairo and Sydney; 10 liaison offices and missions in Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Trieste; 12 procurement offices in Argentina, Brazil, Chile and later Peru, Cuba, India, Mexico, South Africa, Southern Rhodesia, Turkey, Uruguay, Venezuela; 6 offices for procurement of surplus military supplies in Caserta and later Rome, Honolulu, Manila, New Delhi, Paris, Shanghai), the sixteen missions to receiving countries (Albania, Austria, Byelorussia, China, Czechoslovakia, the Dodecanese Islands, Ethiopia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Korea, the Philippines, Poland, Ukraine, Yugoslavia), and the Displaced Persons Operations in Germany.
UNRRA cooperated closely with dozens of volunteer charitable organizations, who sent hundreds of their own agencies to work alongside UNRRA. In operation only three years, the agency distributed about $4 billion worth of goods, food, medicine, tools, and farm implements at a time of severe global shortages and worldwide transportation difficulties. The recipient nations had been especially hard hit by starvation, dislocation, and political chaos. It played a major role in helping Displaced Persons return to their home countries in Europe in 1945-46. Its UN functions were transferred to several UN agencies, including the International Refugee Organization and the World Health Organization. As an American relief agency, it was largely replaced by the Marshall Plan, which began operations in 1948. [Source: UN Original finding aid of records of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA)]
The first plans for a programme of relief and rehabilitation in Greece were prepared in the summer of 1944 at Cairo, headquarters of the Balkan Mission. After the liberation of Greece, the first group of UNRRA officials was ready in October 1944 to go into Athens and start assisting the Anglo-American Military Liaison of the British Government in its relief work, but the outbreak of civil war in Greece delayed operations in that country until January 1945 In the meantime, negotiations went on between UNRRA and the Military Liaison for the handover of all relief activities to the former. An agreement was signed on 1 April 1945, the date on which UNRRA officially started operations in Greece. Meanwhile, the Balkan Mission, whose purposes had been achieved with the establishment of three Missions, in Greece, Albania and Yugoslavia, was liquidated (March 1945). The Greece Mission reported at first directly to Washington and later (after May 1945) to the European Regional Office in London. Although limited by the agreement with the Greek Government (March 1945) to provision of supplies, technical assistance and advise, the UNRRA Mission in Greece did in fact engage in much distribution and rehabilitation operational work, until at least the summer of 1946. The normal channel of cooperation between the Mission and the Government was the Joint Policy Committee with four subcommittees. There were, in addition, numerous local committees in the work of which UNRRA personnel participated. The Mission activities were at the peak during April-May 1946 after which they gradually declined. Liquidation plans were made in July 1946, and transfer of residuary operations and surplus property to the Greek Government started in the autumn. By January 1947 only a skeleton office remained in Athens for closure purposes. The Mission was officiallyclosed on 30 June 1947. The Greece Mission had a headquarters office at Athens, nine regional offices at Athens, Patras, Iannina, Thessalonika, Volos, Mytileni, Kavalla Syros and Khania.
The headquarters office was organized as follows: I. Office of the Chief, to which were attached the offices of Public Information, Government Liaison and of Economic Analysis and Financial Adviser; II. Bureau of Supply and Distribution with the following Divisions: 1. Procurement and Coordination, 2.Clothing, Textile and Footwear, 3. Industrial Rehabilitation, 4. Food, 5. Agriculture and Fisheries, and 6. Traffic; III.Bureau of Relief Services, with a Section for Liaison with Voluntary Societies and two Divisions, viz. Welfare and Repatriation, and Health; . IV. Bureau of Finance and Administration under the Deputy Chief of Mission and consisting of the Office of Legal Adviser and the following Divisions: 1. Finance, 2. Accounts and Audit, 3 Personnel and Training, 4. Administrative Services, 5. Management and Budget, and 6. Administrative Transport. There were several changes in organization; however, the above may be taken as the stable organization which the records generally follow.
- System of Arrangement
- Selected records arranged by four sub-groups ; 1. S-1360-1361, Office of the Chief, 1944-1947; 2. S-1364-1372, Bureau of Supply and Distribution (1944-1947); 3. S-1373- S-1374 Bureau of Relief Services, 1944-1947; 4. S-1375-1381, Bureau of Administration and Finance. Registry files, 1944-1947.
- Topical Term
World War, 1939-1945--Refugees.
World War, 1939-1945--Civilian relief--Greece.
War relief--Greece--History--20th century.
Refugees--Legal status, laws, etc.
Humanitarian assistance, American--Political aspects.
Holocaust survivors--Europe--History--20th century.
- Geographic Name
Europe--Emigration and immigration--History--20th century.
Europe--Social conditions--20th century.
- Corporate Name
American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.
American Red Cross.
Australian Red Cross Society.
Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society of America.
Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees.
Red Cross and Red Crescent--Greece--History--20th century.
Swiss Benevolent Society of Armenians.
United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration--History.
World Jewish Congress.
World ORT Union.
- Holder of Originals
United Nations Archives and Records Management Section
- Legal Status
- Permanent Collection
- Source of acquisition is the Archives and Records Management Section (UN-ARMS), UNRRA records AG-018-022. The collection was digitized through a cooperative agreement between the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Mémorial de la Shoah, France and the UN-ARMS. The USHMM Archives received copied collection via the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum International Archival Programs Division in February 2019 and accretion in May 2019.
- Copyright Holder
- United Nations Archives and Records Management Section
- Conditions on Access
- No restrictions on access
- Conditions on Use
- Restrictions on use. The United Nations Archives is a holder of the copyrights of this collection.
Record last modified: 2019-05-15 18:03:00
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